04 December 2007

Trippers best of...Religious Sites

What is a sacred site? Loosely defined in the World Trippers dictionary, it's a site which a large number of people come to for pilgrimages every year, or a site that has spiritual value of some sort. I began this trip in the heart of Christendom, a block away from the Vatican, traveled through the middle east during the holy month of Ramadan, then trekked near the most remote pilgrim sites in the world, in the Himalayas.

1. Sunrise from Ta Prohn, Angkor Wat, Cambodia (pictured) - I got up at 5AM, rode my bike though the quiet morning streets of Siem Reap and then hiked up to this hilltop temple, where me and a few other restless souls watched the glory of the sunrise over the largest religious complex in the world, Angkor Wat. Pictures and words don't do this any justice.

2. St. Peter's Cathedral, Vatican City. The beams of sunlight through the giant strain glass windows into the behemoth interior left an impression that has let to subside.

3. Boudha Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal. This urban buddhist temple in Kathmandu is hidden behind a row of red brick building, within which you find a amazing white stupa, barely squeezed into the small square, with the trongs of Tibetan buddhists circling the temple, orange robed children sitting on the white surves of the stupas in one the best surprises of Nepal (and a temple I can't find any link to online!

4. Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey - A living temple, with the most beautiful interior and roof I'd ever seen. The courtyard outside, with the Hagia Sofia across the plaza, is one of the most incredible places in the world.

5. Doi Suthep, Chaing Mai, Thailand - A beautiful though small courtyard of this Thai temple sitting on a mountainside with incredible views of the 3rd largest city in Thailand.

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